Unfortunately, we do not handle gun license restoration cases. If you are looking to get your gun license restored please seek other counsel.
We protect and defend your Second Amendment rights
Texas has a tradition of liberal gun ownership laws. However, certain acts violate gun laws. You could pay a steep fine, go to prison, or lose your right to own a firearm.
A Houston firearms lawyer can defend you against criminal prosecution and help you maintain your status as a gun owner.
If you face a weapons charge in Texas, call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. We use our experience as firearms attorneys to get you the best possible outcome. Call (713) 222-6767 or use our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Texas Firearm Offenses
Texas is a constitutional carry state. Most adult Texans do not need a background check, license, or training to own or carry a firearm.
However, some laws ban specific populations from owning firearms. There are also places and circumstances in which even legal gun owners may not bring a firearm.
Unlawful Possession by a Felon
State and federal laws expressly prohibit specific individuals from owning firearms. The most common type of illegal possession is by a convicted felon. If you were convicted of a state or federal felony anywhere in the U.S., you automatically lose your right to own any guns for five years in Texas.
A convicted felon caught with a modern firearm can be charged with a third-degree felony.
Unlawful Transfer of a Firearm
You may be charged with a crime if you sell, rent, give or loan a handgun to someone else knowing that:
- The individual is younger than 18
- The individual intends to use it for any unlawful purpose
- The individual is intoxicated
- The individual was convicted of a felony within the past five years
- The individual has a protective order against them that requires them to surrender their guns
Reckless or Unlawful Discharge of a Firearm
Texas law prohibits individuals from the reckless discharge of a firearm inside a city of 100,000 people or more.
According to Section 22.05 of the Texas Penal Code, it is a third-degree felony to:
- Knowingly discharge a firearm in the direction of one or more people
- Knowingly discharge a gun toward a building or vehicle, whether occupied or not
- Knowingly and intentionally pointing a firearm at another person, residence, or vehicle, whether the other person believes the weapon is loaded or unloaded
Using a Gun to Commit a Violent Crime
You could be charged with a first-degree felony if you use a gun – whether you discharge it or not – while committing an assault, sexual assault, or robbery.
Carrying a Prohibited Firearm
Section 46.05 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits individuals from carrying certain firearms, including machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and explosives.
Are you facing firearm charges in Houston? Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett right away.
We Guide You Through the Criminal Justice Process
Houston firearms attorney Ned Barnett understands the stress of being arrested, seeking bail, and facing potential imprisonment. He has an excellent record of securing favorable results for his clients.
You do not have to endure the criminal justice process alone. Let a Texas firearms defense lawyer protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
What to Expect if Charged with a Firearm Crime
Your Initial Court Appearance
Within 48 hours of your arrest, you go before a magistrate to learn the conditions of your release, including eligibility and the amount of your bail.
For a misdemeanor charge, the prosecutor files a complaint. For a felony, the prosecutor must go to a grand jury to seek an indictment.
A grand jury comprises a dozen of your peers and is a private proceeding. During this process, the prosecutor presents evidence that you committed the crime.
If the jury agrees there is probable cause that you broke the law, they will hand down an indictment. If there is not enough evidence, charges are dismissed, and you are free to go.
Once a prosecutor files the charges against you, the next step is your arraignment. During an arraignment, you hear the charges against you and must enter your initial plea.
After charges are filed, there could be months of pre-trial hearings and conferences. During this time, your attorney may negotiate a plea deal on your behalf.
If you do not plead guilty or agree to a plea deal, then you will go to trial. During this process, each side can present evidence. The judge or jury will decide whether the prosecutor met its burden of proving you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Stand Your Ground Defense
You have the right to protect yourself if you believe your life is in danger. You may also use this defense if you used a firearm to save a loved one from imminent danger.
Texas has a robust “stand your ground” law that does not require an individual to retreat from the use of deadly force if:
- You are in a place you have a right to be
- You are not engaged in criminal activity
- You did not provoke the assailant
You may also use deadly force to recover stolen property from a fleeing person.
- The firearm is antique and exempt from the applicable statute
An experienced firearms defense attorney could make a deal with the prosecution to have your charges dismissed or reduced. Attorney Ned Barnett is a skilled trial lawyer who may secure an acquittal from a judge or jury.
Penalties of a Firearm Offense
Your punishment for a firearm offense depends on the level of the misdemeanor or felony. The court will also consider whether you have a prior criminal history or a first-time offender.
- First-Degree Felony: Punishable by between five and 99 years or life in prison, and a fine up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony: Punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony: Punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- State Jail Felony: Punishable by between 180 days to two years in jail and a fine up to $10,000
- Class A Misdemeanor: Punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $4,000
- Class B Misdemeanor: Punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine up to $2,000
- Class C Misdemeanor: Punishable by fines reaching $500
However, the potential consequences of a firearm-related conviction are far more significant than incarceration and a fine. As a convicted offender, you face:
- Difficulty obtaining a job
- Difficulty getting into college
- Difficulty obtaining financial aid
- Ineligibility for or difficulty obtaining a professional license
- A reduction in your child custody or visitation
- A denial of a visa, permanent residency, or citizenship application, or deportation
- Inability to travel to certain countries, including Canada
- Temporary loss of voting rights
Loss of Gun Rights
As a convicted felon, you also lose your firearm rights. For five years after the conviction, after being released from parole, or being released from probation, you are not allowed to own or possess any firearm. After five years, you may have a gun in your home only.
Know Your Gun Rights
Texas has some of the most permissive gun laws in the country. However, every gun owner should know what the state can and cannot do to limit their Second Amendment rights:
- House Bill 1927: Most adult Texans may carry handguns in public without a license, background check, and training (known as constitutional or permit-less carry).
- House Bill 2622: Prohibits local governments and state agencies from enforcing federal gun regulations.
- House Bill 1500: Lifts the ban on selling or transporting firearms or ammunition during a declared disaster or emergency.
- House Bill 957: Exempts Texas-made firearm suppressors (such as silencers) from federal gun regulations.
- House Bill 1407: Allows concealed carry holders to use visible, holstered handguns anywhere in a motor vehicle, thus voiding the previous shoulder or belt holster requirements.
- House Bill 1387: Allows certain foster homes to store firearms and ammunition together in one secure location rather than separately.
- House Bill 1069: Certain first responders may now carry handguns.
- House Bill 2112: Similar to Bill 1407, this law expands Texas’s definition of legal handgun holsters.
- House Bill 103: The ruling creates a new statewide active shooter alert system.
- House Bill 29: State-owned public buildings may now provide self-service weapon lockers.
- House Bill 1920: Expands and clarifies the definition of an airport’s “secured area” concerning firearms.
- House Bill 2675: Expedites the handgun license process for individuals “who are at increased risk of becoming victims of violence.”
- House Bill 918: Allows young adults ages 18 to 20 to have a gun carry license under specific circumstances related to family violence.
- House Bill 781: Allows community college marshals to carry concealed handguns.
- Senate Bill 741: Allows school marshals in public, private, and open-enrollment charter schools to carry concealed handguns.
- Senate Bill 20: Permits hotel guests to carry and store firearms and ammunition in their rooms.
- Senate Bill 162: Makes it a state crime to lie on a background check to illegally purchase a firearm.
Defend Yourself with an Experienced Houston Firearms Lawyer
Being accused of breaking the law is a scary situation. The last thing you want is to be convicted of a crime and have your constitutional rights infringed. To protect your Second Amendment rights, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett as soon as possible.
Attorney Ned Barnett has over 30 years of experience, first as a prosecutor and then as a board-certified criminal defense lawyer by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
To learn more about your rights and legal options when facing a firearms offense, use this contact form or call (713) 222-6767 to schedule a free consultation.